Laurence Skelly has described his election as the new President of Tynwald as taking on a role previously occupied by ’Manx political giants’.

He triumphed by 20 votes to 12 in a head-to-head with fellow Rushen MHK Juan Watterson at Tynwald on Tuesday.

Mr Skelly replaces Steve Rodan in the role of presiding over Tynwald proceedings.

After taking his seat following Tuesday’s vote Mr Skelly said: ’I am deeply humbled and deeply honoured to sit in this seat - a seat that is occupied by so few and a seat being occupied by Manx political giants.’

The first President of Tynwald, Sir Charles Kerruish, served in the role from 1990-2000, followed by Noel Cringle from 2000-11, and Clare Christian from 2011-16, before Mr Rodan took up the role.

Commenting on the hybrid format of the sitting - with some Tynwald members tuning in remotely following the surge in positive Covid cases - Mr Skelly referred to the lengthy sitting ahead and remarked: ’Co-operation and innovation works well, and I hope that theme will run through these next few days.’

Mr Skelly replaces Steve Rodan, who has retired after five years as the parliament’s main presiding officer.

The now former enterprise minister Mr Skelly, who had already indicated he would not stand in September’s general election regardless of today’s result, was first elected MHK in 2011.

He was nominated by Daphne Caine (Garff) and seconded by Bill Henderson MLC.

Mrs Caine said: ’He is someone who has always embraced the principles of public life. His style is understated, but firmly confident, in being a modern Manxman with traditional values.’

As a presiding officer, Mr Skelly cannot hold a government position. Chief Minister Howard Quayle announced he would take responsibility for the Department for Enterprise until a new government is formed after the September general election.

Mr Watterson, who has been an MHK for 15 years, was nominated by Clare Barber (Douglas East) and seconded Jane Poole-Wilson MLC. He has been Speaker of the House of Keys since 2016, a role which includes being deputy president of Tynwald.

Mrs Barber said: ’Mr Speaker’s experience as presiding officer in both Keys and Tynwald, as well as virtual Tynwald, has been one of taking leadership in difficult times.’

Mr Rodan was first elected as Garff MHK in 1995, successfully standing in four further elections. He was Speaker of the House of Keys from 2006-16.

Tuesday morning’s vote was presided over by Attorney General John Quinn as Mr Watterson vacated his normal position as deputy president following his nomination.

Those who voted for Mr Skelly: Alex Allinson, Tim Baker, Geoffrey Boot, Daphne Caine, Rob Callister, Alf Cannan, Claire Christian, Ann Corlett, Peter Greenhill, Ray Harmer, Bill Henderson, Lawrie Hooper, Ralph Peake, Martyn Perkins, Howard Quayle, Paul Quine, Bill Shimmins, Laurence Skelly Bishop Peter Eagles, Chris Thomas.

Those who voted for Mr Watterson: David Ashford, Tanya August-Hanson, Clare Barber, Graham Cregeen, Chris Robertshaw, Julie Edge, Kate Lord-Brennan, Marlene Maska, Rob Mercer, Jane Poole-Wilson, Kerry Sharpe, Juan Watterson.

One vote was classed as ’spoiled’. That appeared to have been that of Jason Moorhouse (Arbory, Castletown and Malew)